The new Land of Mexico

I was very happy, I know now, at home with my trophy wife and two kids. But one day I accepted an advantageous offer to be the driver of a Truck. I, as a diesel gas-guzzling American couldn’t turn down the offer to drive the roads built by taxes and fire guns freely in the Land of the Free. I bought a Truck on the 2nd day of March 2017, acquired some haul (burgers for a McDonalds in Texas) and set off on the Freedom trail on the 3rd. If I had learned my lesson of knowing when I was happy I would never have set out on this dreaded adventure.

The closer to Texas I got, the more misfortunes were beset upon me. After the third time that I was mugged driving through LA I was out of tires and began carrying my truck, fireman’s carry style. I made it all the way to Nevada, trading and making discoveries and inventions as I went but I was soon apprehended by the police for not having a Truck-carrying permit and thrown into a police van. I expected nothing less than to be murdered at the hands of these police but then I remembered that I was a white male, and would likely be let on my own way soon.

Upon the 3rd day of March one of the Policemen came into my van, and said “you’re going back to Mexico where you belong”. I told him that I was a white but the dark light of the van prevented me from being seen properly. They forced me into another van, drove several miles, and threw me out of the van in a totally new land, immediately turning tail and going back across the border to the US, and in so doing said their goodbyes.

In typical American fashion in a new land, I walked confidently knowing I was the true owner of the land regardless of who was there already. This land was covered with dust and sparse trees, and I walked carefully to not be surprised by any drug cartels. On the ground I saw strange tracks, feet that were spaced out very far from each other and then very close. At last I came upon the inhabitants of the land, a sight which disconcerted me greatly. I beheld a great number of people. The women among the group were all dancing and had long black hair, and the men simply sat and stared at my shimmering white skin. Never, in all my years, had I come upon a sight so disagreeable. Full of contempt, I attempted to go on my way when an ugly monster blocked my way. “Amigo,” he said, “necesito su libertad“. I drew my .45 from my leather-plated holster and, striking him, informed him that “Freedom ain’t optional. It’s coming for you no matter what”, as the US army materialized out of nowhere and liberated the poor people of Mexico.

 

To Mr(s). Editor,

This piece strictly adheres to the requirements sent out by your agency. It formally follows the conventions used in the fourth part, first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. It adheres to the language – the story is set in the past tense, it depicts dread in the first paragraph, capture in the second, leaving the comfortable world in the third, and discovery and rescue in the fourth, just as Gulliver’s travels does. Furthermore, it uses similar diction – rather than contracting words like prevented, disconcerted, disagreeable, etc. as they are used in the text. This post also engages with the modern reader, it uses stereotypes like having a full family, being a proud American, and feeling superior to other cultures that are sure to be familiar to present readers. The artistry of this writing is like the source text, it is descriptive rather than poetic and metaphoric. The diction was carefully chosen so as not to remove that feeling of the narrative. Finally, the use of the medium to communicate the ridiculousness of American superiority was carefully chosen – it could not have been done by a poem about nationalism in playing a harp, for example. Thus, the parodied content matched the source.

The message of this imitation or parody was that the imperialism and believed superiority of Americans in other countries is ridiculous, and that the manliness inherent in American culture is ridiculous as well. There are many other messages within the poem, for example the arrest for not having a license for a fictitious mode of transportation criticizes the over-regulation of the American government concerning modes of transportation. The portrayal of the Mexicans was kept short because the message of the piece would possibly have been obscured by racist stereotypes, meaning it was not a stylistic choice but a question of prudence.

 

Joshua Jolly

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Thomas Moore’s poem about the harp is short and to the point. It talks about a harp that once was a symbol of nationalism now being left unused and “mute” (3). This clearly is a metaphor for better “former days” (5), now that “glory’s thrill is o’er” (6). The past glory is personified by referring to its now unfelt “pulse” (8). This poem takes that image further, referring to Freedom that is barely moving anymore either.

An important component of this poem is the personification. Freedom is personified as a person or animal as is doesn’t wake often, is referred to as a she with a heart, and is referred to as living. This referral to Freedom as living is important to an understanding of the poem. The poet is not only talking about the past, he is talking about a present that has hope, that there is still a small amount of life to be found. Glory, of course, is personified and so are former days, whose pride now “sleeps” (5). The personification changes these ideas from the abstract to the physical world. The reader is presented with an image of a heart that is literally beating.

This poem’s rhyming structure is as follows: ababcdcd etc. Its meter is 8/6/8/6. These patterns are consistent throughout the poem. Thus the poem has a very rhythmic structure to it. This rhythm adds to our understanding of the old nationalism in that it appears there is a regularity to it. The heart beating in the present only occasionally at one point held the very “soul of music” (2).

Overall, there are several clear observations that can be made about the nationalism this is talking about. It is clearly alive, it is now dead, and rhythm and structure is the way of nationalism.

-Joshua Jolly

I chose the Monk by the Sea painting and the Nightingale poem from the book of poems. The two share thematic and aesthetic similarities under the umbrella of Romanticism.

The painting depicts a Monk staring wistfully out at the ocean. The colors are muted and the focus is on the bottom of the painting. The scene embodies darkness and lack of natural life. The horizontal strokes lengthen the feeling of the painting; it does not feel like an afterthought but thematically important.

The poem is guided by gothic undertones and a yearning overtone. It describes a bird singing late in the day and details how it reminds the author of the Philomea, a much older character who was famously raped. The poem is dark and of moderate length and sentence length is moderate. There is no flashy rhyming, the poem is to he point and not adorned with much but allusions.

Iron Maiden’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Romantic poetry has three distinct characteristics – it has a strong emphasis on emotive communication, an emphasis on the raw power of nature, and language directed towards a wider audience. The rime of the ancient mariner song incorporates all three characteristics of Romanticism.

The rime contains hunger, anger, mercy, and redemption, a full gamut of emotions. When the mariner has the crew he is with die “each turned his face with a ghastly pang and cursed me with his eye”. This emotion of anger or betrayal persists in the following stanzas, when the mariner even “wishes he would die” when his guilt at betraying his companions is too strong. Furthermore there is a strong feeling of joy later in the poem for the mariner, when he says “it was a joy he could not believe”, the sight of a boat coming to rescue him. Joy and guilt are both very powerful emotions and thus the poem (or song) has strong emotions.

The poem also emphasises nature and the importance of nature. It describes a “painted ocean”, snow “fog and ice”, an “albatross”. All three of these natural elements are central to the message of the poem. The albatross in particular has a supernatural element to it, and seems to have intentionality to help the sailors outbid their predicament. Furthermore the ocean seems to be an entity of its own, deciding to be still at certain times and quite volatile in others. That ties into the fog clearing, as if it had a mind of its own. These forces of nature are not just plot points, they are to be reckoned with and control the fates of the people onboard.

The diction in the rime is very simple. The sea is “painted”, the “ship sails on”, and the most complicated word in the whole poem is probably “vengeance”. The choice of words in the poem is very simplistic. The reason that Iron Maiden did this, most likely, is to not overcomplicate the syllables necessary for each word. If you have simple language it is easier to add inflection to words and establish rhythm. The unintentional effect of this is that it makes the song more Romantic.

There is certainly a correlation between Romantic ideals and the poetry. But that is not enough to prove causation, and as further research I would recommend an investigation into the causality of romanticism and the poem. 
Joshua jolly 

Name calling and corporate slavery

The second cartoon for today’s analysis reminds me of a much older story, one we are all probably familiar with. Moses! This is the story of Moses and the Israelites. It depicts a people with many social conventions and rights and yet no food to put on the table, who cannot decide what is better – to have food and be in slavery or to have much less food and be free to do what you like. The cartoon labels the starving and hardworking laborer as being in slavery and the slave as being free because of this. And, in fact, out in the desert the watermelons in Egypt sure taste better because you forget the grueling labor and harsh punishments which, of course, are the subject of today’s examination. The purpose of the cartoon is simple and ham handed and has thus been explained.

Equianos narrative beginning on page 56 of the assigned reading, however, takes a different approach 

Joshua Jolly 

Thomson and the assigned close reading

On page 46 of the Gibbes, Hartley House reading assigned for this week there is a passage taken from a poem by James Thomson of no title and beginning with the phrase “Bear me, Pomona, to thy Citron groves!” (46). This passage is a rather famous one, being cited by Goethe and a number of more recent sources. It is used in the text to relate the narrator’s feeling when in Bengal and to encourage Arabella to visit Bengal (or merely to make her feel jealous or a number of alternate possibilities). The purpose of the inclusion is fairly obvious, the narrator says in reference to the poem that “…poetry, Arabella, is the natural language where all is loveliness, and magnificence, and power exhaustless as infinite,” (46) and that there is an “immensity of [her] subject” (47). This meaning that the poetry is intended to give a sense of the scope to Arabella. In other words, I have provided the specific function of the poem in the text.

Now although we have the specific function since our narrator just told us what it was, the prompt did ask for a close reading, so I think it is worthwhile to go back and do one. In the poem itself there is slight mysticism or personification of various elements of nature (the breeze fanning, the fruit fever-cooling, the berries being in ‘humble station and unboastful worth’, and the ‘pride of vegetable life’). This adds to the mystery of the place being described. There is allusion to Jove (roman god) and Pomona (character in paradise lost), who everyone reading the poem is likely to be familiar with and be able to tie in their understanding. Furthermore there is slant rhyme in some of the couplets coat // jove, wave // shade, etc which is either coincidence or intended to bring attention to those parts of the poem (one is mid-way through and the other is at the end so this is likely). This seems to add to the text a certain amount of mythology (literally) and a more displaced sense of mysticism. Thus we have a close reading done of this poem.

As to why Sofia Goldborne ‘obsessively’ quotes English literary works it appears that the works are used to reinforce ideas within the text in a clean-cut way. In this specific passage I would say it does a good job of adding reinforcement, she describes “its fever-cooling fruit : deep in the night the massy locust sheds quench my hot limbs” (46) as “glowing descriptions of a climate and its characteristics” (46-47) which in turn are applied to Bengal. It doesn’t get much more straightforward in application than that. The choice of words on this question make me think I am being led to say that Goldborne is in some way trussing up her references in an attempt to make it more academic or hard to read but I don’t get that impression at all. Perhaps we should recognize that author’s considered these works as important to their own, or that since the audience should have prior knowledge then they should be able to reference them (references are, of course, a literary tradition going much further back than the 1700s). This paragraph addresses the last two questions of the prompt.

Joshua Jolly

The story of Endes and the appes tree

Once upon a time there was a large horse named Endes and a small pony named Indis. Endes and Indis lived on a large farm with many other happy horses and under the care of a very kind farmer named Godes and his son Jedis . 

One day, when Indes wasn’t around, Endes approached Godes and pulled him aside. “I am not happy,” he said, “the horses in my pen, especially that little one Indis, keep changing my name to Endis. Please make it stop.” But Godes, shaking his huge hairy head, told him no. And so Endis moved on.

Godes managed a large farm, and as such he had to have a family to manage it. Godes had only one son whose name was Jedis. “Jedis, you have been my friend for many years now and I must have my name said correctly!”, Endes cried. Jedis considered him for a moment, and then explained through his chipped front teeth that “all words of neceffary or common ufe were fpoken before they were written, and they… muft have been fpoken with great diverfity”. Endes, unable to understand what Jedis was talking about, came up with a plan to change the Indisian language. If he couldn’t have everyone saying his name correctly then the whole system must have been wrong! 

Endes stormed over to Indis.

“I am taking you to the sanskes tree,” he yelled, “and I will teach you how to speak properly.

“What do you call an appes?”

“An apple”, Indis said. “Do you see how its red apples are in the shape of a spheras? That shape, in my lexography, always entails a -le suffix. See, just because I don’t have the same rules as you that doesn’t mean its any more wrong! In fact I’d say you are [continuing] an unjust degradation of persons of respectability such as myself.”

Endes thought for a moment. ‘If’, he reasoned, ‘I try and stamp out Indis’ vocabulary or in some way rule what is right and wrong perhaps I AM degrading him instead of helping him along the path to a pure language.’

Endes quickly thought better of himself and decided that the only real option was to stab Indis every time he mispronounced his name and taught him all the formal rules that Endes already knew and did away with the name Endis forever.

And they lived lives happily ever after.

Until Indis had a son named Armistrars Massacreis who ended Endes’ involvement pretty much permanently.

The end.

Joshua Jolly

Utopia and Mr. Swift

So the topic of debate today is does Swift believe that the horse race in Gulliver’s travels is utopian, more or less. I think that based on the discussion we had in class about it it clearly is. The Houyhnhnms clearly are on the same intellectual level as Gulliver but are able to think an act in a way that is reversed from the Yahoos, who do not have much intelligence at all.

Personally I found it very interesting that a horse-like species was used to represent the society that can make decisions rationally and without any emotion added into the mix. I don’t know if the definition of a utopia has to be attainable, but I mean clearly the Yahoos are close to humans so it’s interesting that the Houyhnhnms were chosen to be the model species. Utopias in literature, at least most of the ones I can think of, end up being dystopias in the end. And almost always because of human elements like greed (like in the caes of communism or capitalism or underwater cities free from laws or whatever else). So when Swift uses something that isn’t human perhaps he is arguing *against* utopias existing at all since they are not human anymore.

Thus you might say that Swift was Satirizing the Enlightenment? You know, the Enlightenment with all those Utopian ideals?

Joshua Jolly

Mary and the R word

This is an interesting set of blog posts. I have definitely enjoyed reading through how inflamed everyone is over how bad it is to change your mind about racism as was apparently the case or that it is somehow latent or that the natives did not deserve what happened to then and so on. People have seemed to forget that these event happened like two centuries ago! Mary is long dead. Bickering over latent racism is just an exercise in futility, in a sense you are preaching to the choir. Pretty much nobody in our sheltered class will disagree with you on most of your points, so the purpose of this blog post will be to attempt to find coherency in this mess. Let’s examine the post “captivity narrative”. The author explains over and over how he (or she, I don’t remember) feels about the white imperialism latent in the story. How he considers Mary’s differences from a four thousand year old quote from Moses to be considerable and areligious (or religious, depending on your perspective I suppose).

– Joshua Jolly

A Response to Winthrop’s “A Modell of Christian Charity”

Winthrop’s sermon goes back to a very central sermon given by Jesus  and related in the scripture of Matthew. The actual words used there were that a city on a hill had such a light that it could not be concealed from the rest of the world. That has been interpreted by the Church as saying that being a Christian it should be obvious that there is no question to those around you what you believe, indeed this is one of the words of Jesus and so is held in even higher regard (typically a red text color and italics). Thus it is no surprise that Milton should take it as his inspiration for writing a sermon on a similar subject, the place of Divine Right in his modern world. The main argument of Winthrops rather structured sermon is the demonstration of Biblical Love. But I want to draw your attention to something here. The biblical love expounded on by Winthrop is not entirely the same love that Jesus’ words imply. Winthrop claims that there are times when a Christian is called to demondstrate love through charity. But what Jesus called for was the consistent presence of love in all of dimensions. By giving freely you demonstrate your committment rather than fulfilling a requirement. Consider before the story of Daniel and the Lions den, as told in the But if Not Sermon by the late Martin Luther King JR. King defines an If Faith versus a Though Faith. Winthrop demonstrates a crucial error in his analysis, that the demonstration of love should be a set of requirements. The fact is that your willingness to die for an idea or give to charity is not based on your expected role. The three men in the story who were before Nebuchadnezzar and went to their supposed death demonstrated such a pure Faith that there was no doubt of it. They fulfilled no requirement. When Jesus called for the rich man to give everything you have to the poor, he did not literally mean that you have to give everything. Merely that as a demonstration of Faith you should want to do that and sometimes should, if that makes sense. Winthrop makes what is called a fundamental attribution error. An FAE, in brief, is when an idea is corrupted from the authorial intent, or when something is interpreted incorrectly because its source is either contexualless or misinterpreted. Jesus, in fact, did not ever issue a commandment in the traditional sense. Indeed, of all the stories and phrases he generated there is a clean three times more Parables than Miracles (physical demonstrations of power) given over the time of his Ministry.

-Joshua Jolly